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This paper presents the work that is currently engaged by faculty in the departments of mechanical engineering technology and computer engineering technology to introduce mechatronic technology into product design curricula of both departments. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation (Award No. DUE-1003721) recently awarded to New York City College of Technology. Advances in computer technology and semiconductor electronics have created a new product design field called mechatronics. Mechatronics treats product design as system design that requires the tight integration of mechanical components, electrical/electronic systems, industrial design ideas, computer-control systems, embedded systems, and intelligent software into the product design and development processes. It requires engineers, technicians, and designers from various disciplines to possess broader knowledge beyond their specialized fields and to work together concurrently. This concurrent engineering and mechatronic design approach, which emphasizes team collaboration, has become the new industry standard in product design and development. Mechatronic technology has been identified as one of the top10 highly influential emerging technologies of the 21st century by MIT’s Technology Review and by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Students were given mechatronic/robotic design projects that required them to use actual mechanical, electrical/electronic hardware and software that are currently been used by the industry. This enabled the instructor to simulate actual product design activities occurred in the industry. Not only students were exposed to the latest mechatronic technology, they also learned the concurrent engineering design approach. Students were given a framework of fundamental design knowledge with hands-on cross-disciplinary activities that allows them to develop an interdisciplinary understanding and integrated approach to product design. Through these hands-on activities, students will also learn the concept of product lifecycle management and sharpened their teamwork skills.The curricula of the three programs will be modified to create cross-departmental design projects. Students will learn how to design, construct, evaluate, operate, and test mechatronic products. Activities include: 3D design and modeling, materials and manufacturing process selection, mechanical and structural design, electrical/electronic design, computer control with embedded systems, interfacing, programming, and project management. These simulated product design activities will give our students a better understanding of product design processes and provide them with much needed hands-on experience.


Zhang, A. S., & Heng, I., & Berri, S., & Zia, F. (2011, June), Introduction of Mechatronic Technology into Cross-Department Product Design Curricula Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18181, © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education.



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